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ARMY ROAD THREAT TO NEORA WILDLIFE

If Constructed, the project will be a massive blow to Region’s Rich Flora & Fauna

 

At a time when the entire world is focusing how to make the earth cleaner and greener to keep the planet livable in the days to come, the Indian Army is planning the construct a new road  connecting Sikkim with the Jalpaiguri District, which if materialized, is feared to spell doom for the biodiversity of the region and also would come down with a nasty blow to the rich wildlife.

The road, if constructed, would pass through three major forestlands of the region – Chapramari Wild Life Sanctuary, Neora Valley National Park and Pangolakha Wild Life Sanctuary, resulting in a mammoth loss of green vegetation which will also affect the rich wildlife population of the region. The road would also intersect one of the main Elephant Corridors of the region. Chapramari – Panjhora – Hilajhora – Gorumara National Park, shrinking the movement routes for the Elephants.

The Indian Army is keen on making this new road through Khunia More ( On NH 31C in Jalpaiguri district) – Kumani – Todey – Tanga – Rachela – Aritar ( Sikkim) for a better accessibility of the region keeping in the mind the infrastructural developments that China is carrying out on the other side of the Sino-Indian border. But what the Defence Ministry is overlooking is that the road will ensure the security to the nation at the cost of country’s national treasure in forms of lush Flora, Fauna and rich Wild Life.

Located in the Algara block of Kalimpong Subdivision, Darjeeling District, the Neora Valley National Park is a virgin forest and is spread over 88 sq. km. area in the Himalayas, ranging from 600 ft. to 10600 ft. With a very thick vegetation of Oak, Sal, Rhododendron, malling Bamboo and Ferns, the Neora Valley proudly houses world’s some of the near extinct species including Bengal Tigers, Red pandas, Clouded Leopards, Himalayan Black Bears, Sloth Bear, Lesser Cats, Himalayan Thar, Serrow and Gural.

Owing to the uniqueness of this forest it has proposed to be included under World Heritage Site.

If the proposed road is constructed, it will cut through the core of the neora Valley forest from Tanga to zero point in Rachela traversing a distance of some 30 km taking a toll of vegetation spread over 200 hectares. In addition to this, the road will also result of deforestation of green cover in Chapramari and Pangolakha (Sikkim).

In a meeting held with the Indian Army, the Forest Department of West Bengal has proposed two alternative alignments to the Army for their consideration. The first one being Bagrakot-Chunabhati-Chuikhim-Loleygaon-Lava-Algarah-Pedong-Ariter and the other one being Damdim-Garubathan-Ambiok-Lava-Kolbong-Kolakham-Chhagey-Lingsakha-Ariter. Both these road links Jalpaiguri districts with Sikkim but bypasses the forestlands.

 

COURTSEY : THE TIMES OF INDIA

 

Posted on: 26 May 2011


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